Stracathro Hospital was built in 1939 as one of the seven Emergency Medical Services (E.M.S.) Hospitals at the start of World War II on ground owned by a family named Campbell. As an emergency hospital, it was capable of holding 1,000 patients and the first were soldier who were injured in an air raid on their barracks at Montrose on 26th October 1940. The bed compliment in the 1990s was 340.
The original Mansion House remained and was listed as a building of architectural value; it contained apartments for the resident doctors. (A dovecot adjacent to the garage and a metal bridge are also listed buildings.) Stracathro was the only one of the seven EMS Hospitals still in service at the start of the 21st century. (ref: 168)
Dr Earnest Shearer was the first pathologist appointed ca. 1949 with 4 laboratory technicians. He retired to Orkney in 1975 and died a few years later.
Between 1962 and 1964, an attempt was made to oversee the clinical chemistry service at Stracathro Hospital by providing a biochemist who travelled each day from Maryfield Hospital - see page 2. At that time, the Chief Technician was Bill Paterson and the technicians in Biochemistry and Bacteriology were Jim McCrossan and Andrew Haxton, respectively. All three had come from Law Hospital, Lanarkshire. (ref: 86)
Leon Farrell, who had been a Senior Biochemist in D.R.I. (1966 - ca. 1970) and who had taken up an appointment with Beckman, was appointed in 1971 as the first full time biochemist. Michael J Stewart, from Ninewells, did a three month locum ca. 1973. He describes Farrell's office as "a fair impression of the electronics workshop of a WW II battleship" with a desk covered with valves, wires, resistors, etc. Farrell left to take up an appointment as Principal Biochemist in Ninewells Hospital in 1976.
When Shearer retired in 1975, it was decided that the three departments (Clinical Biochemistry, Haematology and Microbiology) would be headed by Consultants based in Dundee, who would visit the laboratories at regular intervals.
Peter EG Mitchell was nominated as the Consultant for Clinical Biochemistry and John Evans was appointed as Senior Biochemist in 1976 to be his on-site deputy. Evans was appointed as Principal Biochemist in 1982 and he retired in 2001.
Evans had been a Research Assistant (1965 - 1970) in the Clinical Investigation Unit, Leeds General Infirmary with the late Professor Paul Foreman, the late Dr (later Professor) Brian Morgan and Dr Colin Paterson. He was a Research Fellow in the Pathophysiology Institute at the University of Bern, Switzerland (with Professor H Flersch) from 1970 - 1972 and Basic Grade Biochemist in Dundee from 1972 - 1976. (ref: 87)
Bridge of Earn Hospital & Perth Infirmary
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